I was trying to remember back when I learned to knit. I certainly remember the first dolls scarf I ham fisted my way through and I vaguely remember my aunt trying to show me what to do and helping me fix my mistakes. My mother (who can also knit) also tells me that her mother had a hand in showing me the basics. I inherited her old knitting patterns too, cut outs from magazines and little 1950's booklets, which are priceless to me.
In primary school, my friends Pamela & Colette, from two doors down made a cool primary coloured jigsaw jumper (a right of passage in their school) but as I attended a different one, we crocheted instead! They also made the coolest teddy bears and slippers that I have ever seen. The slipper was made in one long rectangular piece and folded. I never saw a finished one, but I do remember spending ages puzzling over how it could be folded to fit the foot!
My first jumper was a pink square drop sleeved stocking stitch affair that I remember knitting but not wearing. The pattern photo was in white with a large blue horizontal stripe on the front (I omitted the stripe - I was quite young, it was a family project, my aunt and granny joined in). It was made around Easter time as I vividly recall watching Romancing the Stone on TV at the same time.
My crafty youth after that is a mish mash of memories mostly containing the Castletymon Library and all the craft books I could handle. One in particular I have never been able to find again - it was crocheted dolls with a selection of dresses, all Southern Belle in style. I cannot for the life of me find this book anywhere (don't remember the name or publisher/author) and I'd love to own a copy, so if anyone has any brainwaves, please leave a comment! I knit and crocheted (self taught, still don't know the names of half the stitches, but can do them!), sewed, embroidered, macrame, beaded (all self taught) and made jewellery from Fimo and basically had a very crafty time, if I wasn't making something I was reading about it. So I have to say a HUGE thank you to the Castletymon library, you made me the person I am today!
I have knit on and off through my childhood and teenage years until I found Traditional Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman and paired my obsession with anything Victorian and ladylike with knitting. I started making shawls. This was all before the Internet age, so I was limited to yarns that I could find in my local Singer Sewing Shop. The finest yarn I could buy was 4ply cotton (looking back I could have used the finer crochet cotton, but then again I wouldn't have had needles fine enough) so I began knitting shawls in earnest. The Christmas before I had bought a wool shawl from Past times in a deep red with a paisley pattern and I had caught the bug.
But it still wasn't enough, I wanted finer, lacier, more extravagant. Enter the Internet. Googling was my friend and I finally hit upon Heirloom Knitting and a whole new world was opened up to me. I really haven't stopped since.